January 9, 2007

Scouting for new locations

Overall 2006 was a good year for pétanque in America.
Several new groups formed, such as Baton Rouge LA, Louisville KY, Modesto CA , Chicago IL, Aiken SC, to name a few in differents parts of the country.
The scenario is almost always the same: a couple of passionate players get together, they find a suitable location to play, and start converting others.
And from the requests we get from landscape designers we also know that the number of home pétanque courts is growing every month.

On the other hand it is a fact that some clubs that have been around for years are stagnating. They do meet at their club location on a regular basis, but membership does not increase. In some cases it actually decreases: often due to the driving distance and time to get there.

A positive development is how members of the Mistral Petanque Club west of Boston have started looking for alternatives in the city proper: Hayes Park (left), Commonwealth Avenue Mall (below L) and Clemente Field (below R). Public locations like these are also the best way to bring pétanque out in the open.
The Detroit Petanque Club does the same thing at Campus Martius and the Detroit Riverfront.

Walkways in a city park can be enough for a small group. The parking lot of a church, or the driveway of a library. Not to mention the thousands of baseball diamonds at schools. Maybe you can even walk over there!

One should remember that, many years ago, there were no clubs in France. Pétanque was simple neighborhood entertainment. Folks got together after work or on weekends for a few games on the market place, on the street or behind a bar. Formal clubs and leagues didn't start until the late 1940's when the better players wanted to actively compete (and cars became commonplace).
One of the main appeals of pétanque is that there's no need to set up anything. You just have to bring your 3 boules.

I know, there's a lot of asphalt and concrete in our country, but if you keep your eyes open for dirt and gravel, you're bound to spot a place here and there you hadn't noticed before!

As always, when you find such spots, let us know. With Google Maps it takes minutes to spread the word for others to find them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Administering various activities throughout the year for a club takes a little bit of work - many times, when a club first starts out, there can be lulls in activity - but over time, with patience, the stable core of petanque players return again and again. It is important to be reliable - to maintain club hours and stick to that schedule.